If we’re all islands in a common sea, then booking an island holiday is a tsunami of uncertainty leaving us running for higher ground. Let us be that perch from which you’ll see clearly the myriad of options a few mouse clicks away.
Whether you’re looking for sun and sand, scenery and the city, or even clouds and caves we’ve got something for you.
Here are the 11 best European islands to visit.
1. Sardinia, Italy
This super laid-back, sparkling blue Italian gem is home to the most centenarians in the world (22 people over 100 per 100,000 inhabitants) owing to its steady diet of seafood, sunshine, and complete lack of motorways. Stress? Not a chance.
One of the world’s smallest countries by area is also one of the world’s most densely populated and historic. The ancient Megalithic Temples here are older than Stonehenge, but most people come for the glittering coves and scuba diving. One of the official languages? English 😉
3. Bozcaada, Turkey
This tiny island famous for fine sand beaches, grapes, wine, and red poppies has a population of less than 3,000 inhabitants, making it the perfect place to relax beyond the tourist chaos.
4. Santorini, Greece
Greece’s ‘postcard island’ used to be called Kallístē (‘the most beautiful one’) and we won’t argue here. Today it’s the perfect place to dig your feet into black sand beaches, go for a hike, and take sunset sea cruises. If you fancy spending an unforgettable holiday here, look up our hotel options in Santorini and start packing!
5. Tenerife, Spain
The biggest of the seven Canary Islands off the southern coast of Morocco has a December mean temperature average of 22 degrees, giving sun seekers a convenient winter respite.
Have you searched for your hotel in Tenerife yet? Discover your best options now.
6. Skye, Scotland
Life isn’t all about the sun, is it? Skye (old Norse for ‘cloud island’) is the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago and gives tourists great climbing and hiking opportunities among the dramatic mountain scenery not to mention a ton of cosy pubs.
7. Capri, Italy
This scenic island a short ferry hop from Naples has been immortalised in plenty of high fashion and cologne adverts, but tourists come to see the famous Blue Lagoon, the stunning views, water sports, and plates full of amazing Italian cuisine. Some people do a one-day trip to Capri, but we recommend to stay in Capri at least one or two nights.
8. Hvar, Croatia
Croatia’s sunniest island has 2,726 hours of sunshine a year, some of the cleanest water in all of Europe, and is home to Europe’s first public theatre built in 1612. Start planning your trip there by checking our selection of hotels in Hvar.
9. Corfu, Greece
The only Greek island not conquered by the Turks may be small but it produces 3% of the world’s olive oil. Fans of nature will love the rare reptiles, 6,000 plant and flower species, and 119 beaches. To see for yourself all this natural beauty, book your hotel in Corfu and spend at least a weekend there.
10. Corsica, France
A mix of great weather and rich culture. Napoleon was born on this island and you can visit his home. Corsica offers the best beaches and coves in France. If you want to enjoy a Caribbean lookalike holiday, book a hotel in Corsica and get ready for the bliss.
11. Sicily, Italy
The largest island in the Mediterranean is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of the mafia, but is also fertile soil for some of the world’s best wine and olive oil. Spend a few nights in Palermo, the island’s biggest city, to get an urban feel not found on other islands in this list. It is undoubtedly the street food capital of Europe – the arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat) are out of this world.
Which of these islands in Europe is your favourite? Do you have another to add to this list?